Thursday, March 31, 2016


Tragedy is everywhere.  Often it's nameless and faceless allowing you to look the other way and pretend it didn't happen.  But, then there are the other times when it corners you.  And there's nothing you can do but face it and look it directly in the eye.  Feeling the sting, the loss and the hopelessness.

A couple of days ago my sons' high school sent an e-mail informing all the parents that a student was killed as a result of domestic violence.  The name of the student was withheld for privacy.  The truth is, I didn't want to know the details, especially of someone I was sure I wouldn't know.  And that my kids probably wouldn't either.  When my boys came home from school I asked about their day, just like I do every other day.  Then I mentioned the e-mail and they acknowledged losing a classmate and that counselors were available at the school.  I'd handled it in the most avoidant way possible and now it was done.

Except of course it wasn't.
Tragedy is never done.
It produces ripples that alter everything that follows it. 

It was after frisbee practice, the normal chaos of getting dinner on the table and my husband coming home late from work that the story began to unravel.  When my son casually mentioned the name of the victim.  Someone from his grade.  Someone he's known since elementary school.  And I pictured her the way I last saw her, as a 3rd grader meeting her mom, who I'd made small talk with on a couple of occasions, on the play ground when school dismissed.  Why didn't my boys tell me they knew her?  Why didn't I ask?  And for the love of god, why didn't I feel the loss until it became personal?  

What kind of heartless degenerate have I become?

Even though my kids weren't friends of the victim,  I came to realize as my kids were talking that all four of them knew friends and family of hers.  Then they spoke of the rumors that were circulating through school about her death, the way things do when people naturally attempt to patchwork piece a story together.    To dispel those, thinking that the facts would somehow be kinder, gentler truths, we turned to the news for answers.  Immediately realizing our mistake.  Reality is always harsher and more cruel.  It didn't provide any answers.  Only more questions.  

Mostly, where do we go from here?

Though the details of each tragedy are unique, the question that looms is the same.  Though nothing else is.  Forcing us to start over with a new reality.  Where the unfathomable is now within the realm of possibility.  Increasing the seemingly insurmountable challenge for us to find some beauty and hope in a world that seems so hopeless.  And to consciously choose to be a part of it.  However small.  Every day.  

Monday, March 28, 2016


There are so many annoying things that kids do.  And what gets you through the early years is the thought that when they're teenagers they'll be so much more capable and independent.  Which of course will make them less annoying.  However, that's not the case.  Yes, they're more capable and independent, but counterintuitively, it makes them even more annoying.    Because often they don't use those attributes at home.  Hopefully, they do when they're at their friends' houses.  But, who knows really?

At home, my kids do ridiculous, nonsensical things
 that annoy the hell out me.  

Like one of my kids will ask me a question in the third person when the person they are inquiring about is sitting right next to them.  RIGHT NEXT TO THEM!  Such pivotal questions as, "Does Jade like mayonnaise?"  Are you kidding me?  "Jade is sitting right next to you, ask her yourself!"  Also,  this is my response because I have 4 kids and sometimes I kinda forget the answer to these basic questions.  Dammit, is it River or Jade who doesn't like mayo?   Which makes me feel like a loser mom.  So, it's just best to put it all back on the kids, so they don't realize how inadequate of a mother I truly am.

Then there's asking questions that they already know the answer to.  Which they will do multiple times a day.  In  complete sentences.  Surrounded by evidence of the answer.  With the answer to the question inside the question.  *Spaghetti sauce jar on the kitchen counter accompanied by a pot of boiling water and a box of pasta*  "Are we having spaghetti for dinner?"  Are you even kidding me?  That doesn't even dignify a response.  I learned this tactic from my kids.  Like when I ask them to do things around the house and they ignore me.   I didn't even mention when they ask questions with their ear buds in and then get mad when you answer and they can't hear it.  Cause ear buds.

But, I like the ear buds so much more than when they blare their music on the main floor and I'm subjected to listening to their crap ass music.  I mean, I can suck it up, bite my tongue and not openly judge their poor taste in music.  But, I'll do this for a couple of hours before I realize that the kid that turned on the music walked away immediately afterward.  And then I'm all pissy because I've been listening to music I hate with every fiber of my being for absolutely no reason.  I get absolutely no credit for being a martyr if no one is around to witness my martyrdom!   And personally, I blame Pitbull for this.  Actually, I have a litany of blame I'd be happy to spread around to other artists I also dislike.

But, I'm too busy debating other things.  And so are my kids.  In fact, they spend the majority of time that they are together debating things.  Some of those are opinions.  Which makes sense to debate.  But, a majority of the things they debate are facts.  Facts that are extremely googleable.  And they could have the definitive answer on who's right, along with bragging rights in less than 2 minutes flat. In fact, I have BEGGED them to google things. And I have threatened to sign them up for the debate club.  But, then they told me they don't have a debate club, only a forensics club.  And then they told me all about how stupid that name was in minute detail.   After that whole, long debate, I was way too exhausted to sign them up.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  There are tons of these annoyances in my house, just like there are in yours.  But, I thought I'd stop before I annoy the hell out of you.  Because then, you'll stop reading my blog.  And then who will listen to me bitch and complain about my teenagers?  WHO?  No one, that's who.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


I'm not a hoarder myself, but I live with four of them.  And they feed off of each other.  But really, they feed off of me because I buy the food.  Actually,  I suppose, we all feed off of my husband because he makes the money that buys the food.  But that's not the point.  The point is my kids are hoarders.

If my kids don't like the food at home, then there's nothing to eat.
But, if they do, there's still nothing to eat.
Because they ate it all. 

Either way, my kids are always unhappy.  I guess teens and tweens only come in a disconsolate model anyway, so I shouldn't complain.  Not that that's going to stop me from complaining.  Cause it's not.  Because I can never win at this parenting gig.  Not that it's about winning.  But, can't I win sometimes?  Like once a year?  I'd even take biennially.  Come on and give me something here.  Anything.   Maybe a couple bucks for my own personal Feed the Children campaign?  Which only consists of my kids.  

Only because my kids hid all the food from the other kids.  

This is what they do to ensure that they get the good cereal, crackers or whatever else is trending in our house that particular week.  Even though, I don't buy anything particularly good anymore.  Because it'll be gone in less than 3 minutes. Which is probably why my youngest has found a dealer with the goods at school.  She deals in pudding cups, cookies and candies.  Oddly, she gives these things away for free and doesn't hoard them.  Maybe she's an only child.  Because I can't even find any other explanation.   Unless she's trying to buy friends.  In which case, it's totally working.  She might even grow up to be president one day.  

This only helps to prove my point even more. 

I don't need to buy them food they like, because they will scavenge it for themselves.  I'm not even convinced I need to buy them food at all.  Case in point, my son works at the cafeteria at school to earn a free lunch even though I have food at home for him to bring.  He's just too lazy to pack it. However, he's not too lazy to choose to work for crappy school lunch that came out of a can from a 1950's bomb shelter somewhere.  Cause come on you know your kid's horrid hot lunch comes was derived during the cold war.  Preservatives will help them lead a long life, just as it did for Lenin.  

Wait....what was my point again?
I got distracted looking for a hiding spot for my chocolate stash before my kids get home from school.

Monday, March 14, 2016


"Can I drive?"  Could there be a more loaded question?  Especially when our family of 6 is piling into the car for a relaxing weekend getaway.  Letting the kid with a driver's permit drive isn't relaxing.  And if we don't make it there because we let the kid with the permit drive, it's not a getaway either.  But, he needs the practice.  I just wish he could practice on someone else.  Because I get anxious, which is why I sit in the back seat.

Making me a backseat driver.   

I'm not the only one.  My oldest, who's also a licensed driver, is back there with me.  Coincidentally, these are the safest seats in the car.  (Although, they can't protect me from the skyrocketing insurance of adding two teenage boys to our insurance.)  My husband gets to ride co-pilot in the danger zone.  But, any time my son changes lanes, all three of us turn our heads to check that it's clear.  (And we all have an invisible brake pedal too.)  

Because if we go down, we all go down together. 

 At least when you have a kid driving on a permit, they are not permitted to listen to the radio.  Thank god, because that's one less thing for my kids to fight over.  Speaking of which, they've all been instructed to stay quiet and not fight with each other in the car when one of them is driving.  You'd think it's fairly obvious not to fight with the driver of a car while they're driving, even for a kid.  However, we learned when our oldest was learning to drive that this knowledge doesn't come standard issue.  

The only thing that's automatic is the car.  

Which, when I learned, I learned on a stick, in a parking lot.  Because the learning curve on a standard is a lot steeper.  And these kids will never know how hard it is to go up a hill from a dead stop driving a stick.  Kids these days have it so much easier.  They don't even have to parallel park for the driver's test anymore. heard that right!  The hardest most stressful part of the test is gone.  Which might be one of the reasons I'm even more stressed as the parent of a kid with a permit than I was as the kid who needed to parallel park a standard car on a test.

Because every drive ends with parking.
So, it's pretty freaking important...
which might be why I'm freaking out.

Unless that's because my next kid turns 15 in 3 months.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Getaway

Photo Credit:

Getting away used to be so easy when the kids were small and portable.  And by easy I mean I packed a million snacks, planned around nap time and factored in that I'd only be seeing kid pleasing sites, like the zoo.  Now, I still need to pack a million snacks, cause teenagers.  But, I have to plan around their school and sports schedules and then I have to factor in their social lives.  Cause I've bequeathed my social life to them.

Making a family weekend getaway damn near impossible!

Especially with four kids.  Seriously, there's a birthday party for one of my kids' friends almost every weekend. And then as soon as one sports season ends another one begins.   Then there's all the frivolous little things like getting recertified in CPR for that life guarding summer job thrown in. Which is also why we won't be going to the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone over the summer break.  Because now we have to work around kids' work schedules too.  

If only my kids were antisocial, unambitious couch potatoes.  

Then we could travel all the time, instead of frantically searching for any two days strung together.  And then hopefully, my husband doesn't have to work and our dog sitter is also available.   Then maybe we'll find a destination not too close to home, but not too far away either.   Because we don't want to spend the entire getaway in the car actually getting away from home.  And it needs to have interesting stuff to do, but not too much so that we don't have time to relax.  

Because the whole point of all the stress of going is to relax.  

But, we already know it's not going to be relaxing.  Because we've done this before and nothing with four kids is relaxing.  Wait....why are we going again?  And what if the weather sucks and we have to spend the whole weekend we planned to be outside, inside?  At least we'll be somewhere else.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Snip, Snip

Photo credit:
When you're in your mid-forties, you're pulled in so many different directions.  With your career and family taking center stage.  You're starting to plan for retirement one day.  But, you've also got to figure out how you're going to pay for your kid's college in a couple years.  Or how to choose between them.  And that's just the beginning of the stress at middle age.  Basically, life's got you by the balls right now.

But, it could be worse.  

You could have all the stress of a financially strapped forty-something with ungrateful teenagers and still get pregnant and have to start all over again.    With a tiny human who shits him or herself.  And when that starts to sound absolutely horrifying instead of endearing, that's when you know it's time.  Time to take control of the ball.  Or balls.  Before the game stops being fun and time runs out. 

Before it's game over.  

After carefully weighing the risks for a millisecond, the procedure was scheduled.  Having a physician for a husband who knows that a vasectomy is less risky than a tubal ligation and insists he takes one for the team, earns him an MVP.   When the day finally came, I drove him to his appointment and sat eagerly in the waiting room.  Mostly because I brought along a new book and was looking forward to the peace and quiet to begin reading it.   Then, my husband emerged a mere 15 minutes later, completely done.   "I didn't even finish a chapter yet!"

That's when I started getting snippy.  

Not that I had any right to, because I didn't.  But, that didn't stop me.  I mean, I did take care of him and everything.  He did lay on the couch with a bag of frozen corn on his balls while watching a marathon of Walking Dead episodes all day.  Which I've never seen him do ever.  Giving a whole new meaning to the trademark 'corn nuts'.  Anyhow, later that evening we sat down to watch a movie together and he suggested some guy movie.  "Noooooo.  Can't we just watch a documentary?"  I asked.  Seriously, why couldn't I just give in and give him some of his manhood back, if only for just one night?

Because I'm a selfish middle-aged bitch approaching menopause watching the fertility I didn't think I wanted anymore wane.  

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Cleaning Solution

I found out we were having house guests the night before.  Which sent me into a panic.  Not that I don't love having people stay at my house, I do.  And I love cooking for them.  But, what I hate is cleaning it.  With 4 kids and 2 dogs cleaning is a vicious cycle that never ends.   One that I prefer to not even start.

Because, cleaning turns me into a raving bitch.

It's true.  Normally I'm a laid back, Type B kinda person.  I don't request that my kids take their shoes off indoors nor do I fuss about them making their beds.  Because I already have enough to nag them about.  And because I haven't made my own bed and that would make me a hypocrite.    

I mean, I am a hypocrite, but my house guests don't know that. 

So, I assign each of the kids jobs.  And they each give me a dissertation on how each of the other kid's jobs are easier and how unjust the world is.  Then I rant about how much I do around the house and how unjust that is.  That's when I start listing every thing I do for them at the top of my lungs in miniscule detail.  Which eventually convinces them to do their job so I'll shut up.  Of course, after that,  I still have to inspect their work because inevitably, it's done half-assed.  (I don't know where they get this from.)  Then, I make them do it again.   It's like they love to hear me bitch and complain or they would just do it right the first time.  But noooooooo, that's never how it happens.  Plus, managing all these kids individually makes the whole process takes 2 hours, at minimum.

And that's just to get my kids to do the minimum.  

I take the job with the maximum work for the maximum fool-the-houseguests-into-believing-you-actually-live-like-this-every-day effect.  Which is washing the floors. Which is a long, multi-step process. 

1.  Remove stray dirty socks/abandoned shoes and other random kids items from floor.  And/or yell at kids to do this.  (However, the latter will significantly delay the process.)

2.  Vacuum.  

3.  Then, when your vacuum really sucks, in that it doesn't actually suck anything up, like mine, simply keep running it over the item repeatedly.

4.  After 5 minutes of trying to suck up a single crumb, reluctantly empty the canister clogged with dog fur, candy wrappers and pennies.  

5.  When that doesn't work, investigate further and hesitantly and with heavy eye rolling to denote protest, rinse the filter and set it in the sun to dry.

6.  Warily sweep the floor while muttering expletives under your breath because you're on a time constraint and don't have time to wait for the filter to dry to use the vacuum.  

7.  Kick the dogs and kids out of the house.  Put the kids in charge of watching the dogs.

8.  Wash the floor while swearing and complaining to yourself about the kids and dogs who aren't around. 

9.  When daughter puts hands up to the window to watch through the glass, yell at her through the window that  she'll be cleaning up said fingerprints when the floor is done.

10.  Fold laundry upstairs while the floor dries downstairs. Why did I ever want to be an adult?

11.  Polish the floor.  Seriously, why don't we get laminate?  Or a dirt floor.

12.  Yell at anyone who attempts to come into the house because they "forgot" you were cleaning the floor and didn't hear you yell at everyone else to stay out.  

13.  After you finish, the phone rings and someone has your dogs at their house because the kids "forgot" to watch because they were watching you wash the floor.  

14.  Yell at kids for not watching the dogs and make them go get the dogs and bring them home.  So the kids and dogs can come ruin your now finished, half-assed clean floor.

15.  Ensure your fingerprint artist cleans the windows and add on all the other windows in the house because you forgot about cleaning those.  Add this one to the win column.  

Is there a better solution to cleaning your house?
There is:  Don't have kids or dogs.



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